WHEN SHOULD YOUR CHILD START COMPETING?
Mini Tennis has not only introduced many more young players to the game but also allows competition to take place at a very early age. It teaches the fundamentals of the game through emphasis on learning how to rally, court positioning, where to place the ball and how to score. Competition at this young age is a hotly debated topic in the world of tennis and questions like Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Should young players be playing so much competition? Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”and Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”When should my child start competingÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬ are frequently asked.
Competition, if handled correctly, is an important part of a childÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s development. It takes a relatively long time for most children to develop the necessary skills needed to play Mini Tennis Red successfully and some develop these skills quicker than others. An good analogy is to compare the development of children in tennis to building a house, where the most important part (which takes the longest and is not seen) is the foundation. If a child is thrown into competition too early before developing the necessary physical and mental skills it can not only be a waste of time, but can also be very demoralising for the child.
We at the Berkhamsted Tennis club have a PROGRAMME STRUCTURE that consists of four levels; two of those levels are at mini tennis Red. In our BLT&SRC Red squads, which are for children aged 4/6 years old, the emphasis is about having fun and starting to build those core fundamental foundations to help building a rally and seving successfully. Players will then get the oppotunity to join the BPTA Red Competition squads, as long as they meet the required criteria (please see the BPTA PROGRESSIVE PATHWAY for more details on this.
When training in the BPTA Red Competition squads we look to build more confidence within a rallying situation and introduce them to differnet tactical situations. We then start to introduce some matchlplay within our squads every fifth week. These matchplay days are designed to get children feeling good about competition, learning to score, experience winning and losing and also develop self-confidence to take further steps. These players will then look to start competing in LTA competitions and matchplays, with the goal of improving their Mini Tennis rating.